I swear to you, birds mock me. Even the East Coast birds are in on it, so I assume some of their West Coast cousins passed the word along: “Hey, this chica with a camera’s coming your way. She needs birds for her UFD thing. So what you’ve gotta do is, show yourself for a split-second, then fly into the bushes and sing at her really loud. She’s hilarious when you do that!”
At one point, in Massachusetts, I caught a glimpse of some little brown birds nibbling on things in the path, so I abandoned Evelyn and left her marking dinosaur trackways whilst I hared off after birds. And the fuckers flew off into the bushes the instant I approached. All I got was the arse-end of a robin.
I despaired. I could hear them everywhere: little songbirds, and woodpeckers, and even mourning doves, which I haven’t heard since living in Phoenix. There was some weird bird Evelyn mentioned the name of, made a really bizarre sound, but I can’t remember what it is now. Why? Because I never bloody saw it. All I saw was fleeting glimpses of perfect candidates, and bold robins puffing out their red breasts at me, because they know I don’t need robins.
Then came the day we sat on the deck in the afternoon sun with cheese and crackers, the dog flopped down beside us, the lake sparkling gently in the breeze, and behold! A bird!
I could hardly believe my eyes. A bird that hadn’t got the memo. A bird that even posed.
It was all like, “Oh, did you want a front view? Done! Also, check out my nifty profile.”
“Hot eating action? Sure! Let me just peck at this branch for you.”
“Okay, so maybe that was more like my foot, but still. It’s me bending down to peck at something. And, for my grand finale, I’ll go sit framed in these more interesting branches. See how awesome I am?”
So there we are: the one and only UFD I got from New Hampshire. Maybe it will tell its friends and neighbors about being immortalized on ETEV, and next time I get back east, birds will be lining up for their shot at fame. Then again, I doubt it. They seem to take particular delight in watching me stumble through the woods cursing as they flutter just out of sight…